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Avdulla eyes more Group 1 success on FWD Champions Day

April 25, 2024 at 7:26:11 AM

Fresh from Group 1 glory on California Spangle in Dubai, Brenton Avdulla is hungry for more success at the highest level in Sunday’s (28 April) FWD Champions Day at Sha Tin.

Fresh from Group 1 glory on California Spangle in Dubai, Brenton Avdulla is hungry for more success at the highest level in Sunday’s (28 April) FWD Champions Day at Sha Tin.

The expatriate Australian has secured rides in all three Group 1 features, headed by California Spangle in the Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m), Beauty Joy in the FWD Champions Mile (1600m) and Five G Patch in the FWD QEII Cup (2000m).

The 33-year-old is aiming for his third consecutive Group 1 victory on California Spangle to add to the gelding’s Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup (1400m) win at Sha Tin and his last start victory in the Al Quoz Sprint (1200m) in Dubai.

Avdulla has a perfect record on both California Spangle and Beauty Joy for Tony Cruz, having ridden California Spangle only twice and his sole ride on Beauty Joy produced a last start victory this month in the G2 Chairman’s Trophy (1600m).

“I have got some nice ones for Tony and obviously they are racing well and Beauty Joy is a last start winner in a Group 2 and obviously (California) Spangle has won two Group 1s at his last two starts and is in good form,” he said.

“They have both been good horses to me. It’s worked out well,”

Avdulla said California Spangle, who provided him with his first Hong Kong Group 1 win, will obviously race on the speed and had appreciated getting back from 1400m to the 1200m Dubai sprint.

California Spangle wins the Al Quoz Sprint.
California Spangle wins the Al Quoz Sprint.
“He has always been a speed horse and I’ll be riding him positively to try to find the front and it’s in his best interests to be rolling at a good speed,” he said.

“Beauty Joy has to begin well and will probably be mid-field. He is not an easy horse to ride and you can’t really ride him to a map or that and you just have to keep him comfortable.

“Sometimes he is midfield and sometimes he is worse but you have just got to get him into a good rhythm, so a barrier is probably important for him.”

With champion and last year’s winner Lucky Sweynesse sidelined with injury, Avdulla said that there had been somewhat of a changing of the guard in the sprinting ranks but he wouldn’t swap his mount for anything.

With Golden Sixty aiming for his fourth consecutive FWD Champions Mile victory, Avdulla said he was obviously the horse to beat if he was anywhere near his best.

Beauty Joy wins for Brenton Avdulla.
Beauty Joy wins for Brenton Avdulla.
The son of a bookmaker, Avdulla was 15-years-old and had never ridden a horse when he started his apprenticeship in Melbourne with John and Gerard Moloney and their Hall Of Fame trainer father, Jim.

He later transferred his apprenticeship to the Sydney stables of Gai Waterhouse for a few months and then moved to Anthony Cummings.

At just 18, he rode his first Group 1 winner on Secret Admirer for Grahame Begg in the 2010 edition of the AJC Flight Stakes (1600m).

Sydney’s champion jockey in 2017/18, Avdulla spent six months on the sidelines following a serious race fall at Randwick in 2021.

Now in Hong Kong for just under 12 months, Avdulla said his wife Taylor and their two children, son Hunter, 4, and daughter Bella, 2, are loving life in their new country.

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